Communication. We hear that word so much it often falls on deaf ears (pun intended).
You know…like when your spouse asks you to do something and you nod your head with an affirmative, “Sure, I’ll get that done.”
Couple of weeks later, same question. “Oh yeah, I’m getting to it,” you respond sheepishly.
Yup, we’ve all been there.
If your MSP is guilty of the same thing when it comes to architecting a rock-solid Communications Strategy, we’re here to change that.
We’ll start with a breakdown of what a good Communications Protocol should ideally look like, then wrap up with 5 of our top tips.
Exactly what defines a Communication Strategy?
Well, according to Wikipedia:
- Communications: is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.
- Strategy: is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the “art of the general”, which included several subsets of skills including military tactics, siege craft, logistics etc., the term came into use in the 6th century C.E. in Eastern Roman terminology, and was translated into Western vernacular languages only in the 18th century. From then until the 20th century, the word “strategy” came to denote “a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills” in a military conflict, in which both adversaries interact.
- Communications Protocol: is a system of rules that allow two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics and synchronization of communication and possible error recovery methods. Protocols may be implemented by hardware, software, or a combination of both.
What a Customer-Facing Communications Strategy Looks Like for MSPs
Warning Will Robinson: we are talking about non-alert tickets only. Do not send a Customer-Facing notification for every alert received. Trust me, I know this from experience and from giving the Customer what they asked for…which led to regrets each and every time. It is amazing how many times we need to protect the Customer from themselves.
So, let’s break it all down for you, starting with:
- A Reason:
- To provide a Great Customer Experience – make it nice ‘n easy to do business with you.
- To hold the Support Team accountable to provide a consistent Customer Experience.
- To provide value to the Customer.
- To build trust and a partnership with the Customer.
- A Message:
- A status update at each significant step in the lifecycle of a Customer’s request.
- Use language that reflects the MSPs culture and relationship with its Customers.
- Include a survey at the 1st and 3rd step in the 3-step automated closing process.
- A Delivery System:
- Automation provides consistency.
- Phone calls provide the personal touch as well as a rich information exchange.
- Time Entry triggers encourage good documentation and Real-Time Time Entry.
- Noise Mitigation:
- Branding so they know it is you and not one of the hundreds of marketing emails that hit their inbox on a regular basis.
- A Subject line and Banner informing them of why they are receiving the notification.
- Clear, concise message.
- A bold call to action if a Customer response is needed.
- A Reception:
- An email that makes it easy to understand and to take action (including delete with confidence if it is something like an acknowledgment).
- An Understanding of the original message:
- Communication only happens if the Customer clearly understands why you are communicating, what you are communicating and what you expect them to do so they then know how to respond.
5 Top Recommendations for Your MSP
All that being said, here are our top tips for you:
- Review the PSA Statuses to ensure they make sense from a Customer “New” to “Complete” experience.
- Place Statuses in New to Complete order.
- Draft notifications that meet the Communication Protocol.
- Leverage Workflow Rules to automate the process.
- Educate the Support Team to follow the Protocol and:
- Provide consistency to the Customer that drives efficiency.
- Provide the same Customer experience no matter which Tech engages.